The founder of Japanese fashion brand Undercover, Jun Takahashi, has issued an apology and pledged to refrain from using live animals in designs after criticism from animal rights group PETA.
The controversy arose from Undercover’s ‘terrarium’ dresses, shown at Paris Fashion Week, which incorporated live butterflies.
The Takahashi-designed dresses drew backlash as PETA raised concerns about insect welfare, arguing that butterflies used for public displays often come from the wild or are captive-bred on farms, resulting in difficult shipping conditions.
In his response to PETA, Takahashi acknowledged the mistake, expressing regret for trapping butterflies that could fly freely. She explained that the butterflies came from an “ethical” breeder and were provided with proper nutrition, space and temperature during the fashion show.
However, PETA countered that captive-bred butterflies struggle to survive in the wild and can transmit disease to local insect populations. Takahashi released the butterflies in a park after the runway show.
The designer revealed that his affinity for butterflies dates back to an experience at his grandmother’s funeral two decades ago, where a white butterfly passed by and stayed with him, bringing comfort.
Despite Takahashi’s effort to create a positive environment for the creatures, PETA highlighted the potential harm caused by using live animals in fashion shows.
A PETA spokesperson reported a constructive discussion with Takahashi, acknowledging his commitment to learning and behaving better in the future.
This incident adds to the ongoing debate about ethical practices in the fashion industry, with animal rights groups pushing for more sustainable and cruelty-free approaches.
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